REVIEW: HIJITO – CARLOS ANDRÉS GÓMEZ (PLATYPUS PRESS)

Eleven years later, when you no longer eat pizza
or speak Spanish, when your father’s profile invades

your clenched jawline, you borrow his brisk gait,
his snort, his face. People say you look white.
Your father never does. The restaurant won’t seat

you, the hostess says neither of you meet the dress
code (your father’s wearing a double-breasted suit).
You are a man trying to roll your r’s again. Where did

the words go?


from “Pronounced”

Too many people are Goodwill books – spines taped together, hoping for enough threads to keep them in place. Too many wear covers by which they are judged. Too many are discarded without being read.

Carlos Andrés Gómez’ Hijito (Platypus Press) engages us in a conversation about race, culture, language, religion, and self. It’s graceful enough to subtly place the onus on the reader, proffering that maybe there’s something that could have been learned from prior actions, and maybe it just doesn’t have to be this way. Maybe “We remember the story / we commit to. Then we tell / ourselves it happened.” We are only as good as our last honest memory.

It’s not enough to be honest anymore. And what is “honesty” anyways? Are we only allowed to be ourselves when we are on our own. And even then, are we honest alone? But, even then, there is a breaking point. There is a time when “the boy was done / with being shadow, dust film on boot / lip–wanted to be luminous. Sometimes a life / splinters to break. To Scatter. / To be.”

Purchase your copy of Hijito from Platypus Press.

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